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How to Improve Your Writing: My Top 7 Fast-Acting Methods

How to Improve Your Writing: 7 Ways. Makealivingwriting.comIt’s rare that I meet a freelance writer who thinks their writing is good enough. It’s not just that you want to know how to improve your writing, either — you want to know how to do it in a hurry.

Ideally, quick enough to get you some better-paying freelance writing gigs, real soon.

It seems no one wants to become a strong writer the way I did it — namely, to file 3-4 stories each and every week, like I did for 12 years. Or to write 72 blog posts a month, like I did when I got back into freelance writing in 2005.

Everybody wants a shortcut. OK then! I think there are a few.

Here are my top seven ways to quickly improve your writing:

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The Stupidly Simple Way for Freelancers to Get Referrals

The Freelancer's Stupidly Simple Way to Get Referrals. Makealivingwriting.comIf you’re trying to get referrals to book more freelance writing work with little success, you might be going about it all wrong.

Yes, asking your existing contacts for referrals works.

So do testimonials, guest posting, volunteering, in-person networking, email marketing, and building your online presence.

These are proven marketing activities that can help you get referrals.

But there’s an easier and stupidly simple way to get referrals that I’ve been using since I started freelancing a couple of years ago.

It takes very little time, costs little to no money, and can pay dividends far greater than a postage stamp or a few minutes of your time.

I’ve landed magazine assignments, writing gigs, and other types of freelance work with this strategy. And so can you.

Want to learn how to get referrals, more assignments, and be the first person someone thinks of when they need a writer?

Let me show you how this stupidly simple strategy works.

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Article Research: A Savvy Librarian’s Top Tips

Article Research Tips from a Savvy Librarian. Makealivingwriting.com

Ever wasted hours doing article research for a query or assignment?

It happens, especially if you don’t know where to look.

If you’re not getting anywhere with your approach to article research (which probably starts with Google for almost everybody), ask an expert on how to find the information you need.

And just where are you going to find an expert on article research? At the library.

Libraries (all 119,487 of them in the United States, which means there’s probably a library near you) are packed with resources to help freelancers work smarter and faster.

And at every one, you’ll find a reference librarian who knows the ins and outs of article research better than you.

In a recent Freelance Writers Den podcast, we talked with Emily-Jane Dawson. She’s a reference librarian for the Multnomah County Library system in Portland, Ore. And she shared some of her best article research tips for freelancers.

Looking for information to beef up a query letter, pitch a prospect, or complete an assignment?

Check out these article research tips from a savvy reference librarian:

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Article Writing Secrets of a CIA Analyst Turned Freelancer

Article Writing Secrets the CIA Knows. Makelivingwriting.com

If you want to improve your article writing skills, the Central Intelligence Agency probably isn’t your first place to look.

Yes. I’m talking about that CIA. The organization that feeds the President and senior officials information to keep us safe. I was an intelligence analyst for the CIA for 8 years, and spent most of my time writing for top policy makers.

Ever wonder what happens behind the scenes at the CIA?

It’s not exactly like living in a Jason Bourne movie. But there is a lot of information that requires article writing skills to keep people informed. Along the way, I uncovered article writing secrets at the CIA that helped me go from analyst to full-time freelancer.

It wasn’t easy. In this high pressure environment, I quickly learned to kill my purple prose, prioritize readability, and create impeccable work under pressure.

Want to improve your article writing skills, land better clients, and earn more?

Here are six secrets from inside the CIA to help you be a better freelance writer:

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27 Parenting and Family Magazines That Pay Writers

Family-friendly Magazines That Pay Writers. Makelivingwriting.com

If your niche is writing about family matters, parenting, and everything that goes along with having kiddos, magazines that pay writers are plentiful.

No doubt you’ve heard of some of the heavy hitters like Family Circle or Parenting. These national magazines can be great places to pitch and get paid well.

But they’re not the only magazines that pay writers in this niche.

The next time you’re at the library, grocery store, or even the doctor’s office, take look at the magazines available to read. Chances are pretty good you’ll find a local or regional pub on parenting or family life.

These magazines that pay writers can be a great way to tap into your niche and give readers the skinny on changing diapers, cooking for picky eaters, homework help, things to do, places to go, and everything else that goes along with family life, too.

If you’re looking for magazines that pay writers for stories about parenting and family matters, check out these pubs, and start pitching.

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Side Hustle to $50K in 6 Months: This Writer Made It Happen

How to Go From Side Hustle to Full-Time Freelancing. Makelivingwriting.com

Ever wonder if you can turn your side hustle as a freelancer into your full-time gig?

I know I did.

Maybe you’ve got a handful of clients, but you’re not earning enough to quit your day job.

You’re feeling good about the freelance work you’re doing, but you’re not sure how to move up and earn more.

Or maybe, you’ve been banging your head against the wall wondering how to turn your side hustle into the real deal.

Sound familiar?

For the last few years, freelance writing was entirely a side hustle for me. I fit in marketing and writing around being a mom and going to school.

But I finally reached that tipping point where I wanted more from freelancing like better clients and better pay.

So at the beginning of the year, I decided to go all-in, work smarter, do more marketing, and earn more from writing.

And in the first six months, I made $50K writing for magazines, newspapers, and digital publications. Here’s how I made it happen:

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